Paul Sails for Rome: Acts 27:1-26.
Having testified to King Agrippa, Paul and several other prisoners sailed to Rome. Paul was accompanied by Luke and Aristarchus (Acts 27:1; Col 4:10). They were placed in the custody of a Roman Centurion named Julius. It was a difficult journey and scheduled to make several stops. As the voyage progressed, the ship encountered strong headwind that made it difficult to keep the ship on course. Paul advised the centurion not to attempt the voyage under such dangerous circumstances. But the centurion trusted the ship’s captain and the owner more than Paul the prisoner. Since the Fair Havens port was not a good place to spend the winter, they sailed to Phoenix. But the weather changed suddenly and a storm struck the ship. The sailor couldn’t turn the ship into the wind. They were force to lighten the ship by throwing the cargo overboard. The storm continued for many days and the sailors lost all hope of navigation because they could not see the stars. They had not eaten for several days. Then Paul stood up and rebuked the sailors for not trusting him. Paul asked them to take courage and said "None of them will lose their life but only the ship. The angel of the God had appeared to me and assured that I will be brought before Caesar" (27:24). God has granted safety to everyone sailing with him. Paul said “I believe God; it will be just as he said” (27:22-25). Here Luke gives great detail about the storm at the sea to show that God can be trusted. God is faithful to fulfill his promises. God not only called Paul but also protected him every step of his way. Paul assured the fellow sailors that they all will reach Rome despite the shipwreck. When we go through personal dangers and sufferings, we can have the confidence that God is with us (Heb 13:5).
The Shipwreck and God’s great Deliverance: Acts 27:27-44.
On the fourteenth night of the storm the sailors sensed that the land was near. As the water became shallow, they cast four anchors to secure the ship from shifting to the rocky shore. The sailors tried to abandon the ship and wanted to escape in the lifeboats. Then Paul said to the centurion “Unless these men stay in the ship, they will die”. Then he took some bread, gave thanks to God and urged them to eat. There were 276 people on board. They lightened the ship further by throwing the cargo into the sea. At daybreak they attempted to run the ship to the shore but ran the ship to ground. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to make sure they did not escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard and get to land. The rest floated in on planks of the ship and escaped safely to shore. This incident reveals Paul’s faith in God and his concern for others. We all will go through the storms of life but God is our present help in troubles (Psalms 46:1). Are we concerned about the perishing souls? God will accomplish all his purposes for the sake of the gospel and for his glory.